Workshop in Indong Tea Estate: ​ 28th June 2019

The Coexistence project team, along with members of SPOAR, a local NGO partner met the workers of Indong Tea estate. The workshops was conducted in Ambachopal Line of the estate where elephants come regularly while crossing between adjacent forest patches. We discussed several measures to minimize accidents with elephants and also floated the idea of forming local First Response Teams to deal with elephants. The workers were also explained safety measures to avoid leopard encounters using interactive games.

Workshop in Nageshwari Tea Estate: ​ 23rd June 2019

The Coexistence project team, along with the West Bengal Forest Department met workers in Nageshwari Tea Estate for a session on reducing risk of human casualties due to leopards and elephants. The workshops were conducted in two separate worker colonies, both regularly used by elephants for movement and also have a resident population of leopards. The workshop was requested by local workers after several instances of leopard sightings in the area and one case of a lady worker being injured in an encounter with a leopard while plucking leaves.

Workshop in Damdim Tea Estate: ​ 26th June 2019

The Coexistence project team, along with the West Bengal Forest Department, SPOAR and NAS, two local NGO partners met workers in Damdim Tea Estate for a session on reducing risk of human casualties due to leopards and elephants. The workshop was conducted in Gosai line where leopards have been sighted regularly and elephant visitation is also common. Detailed discussions were held on leopard and elephant ecology and on safety practices to minimize accidental encounters with leopards and elephants

Workshop in Bagrakote Tea Estate: ​ 21st July 2019

The Coexistence project team met the people residing in Bagrakote Tea Estate area. The awareness program was conducted on the hospital premises of the tea garden. In this locality, there is a regular movement of elephants as it falls between two forest patches. We discussed methods on how to minimize human confrontations with elephants and also the idea of forming a First Response Team dedicated to deal with wildlife emergencies. The later part of the discussion focused on safety measures to avoid leopard encounters while working in and around the tea garden.

Workshop in Chalsha Tea Estate: ​ 22nd July 2019

The Coexistence project team conducted an awareness program in the Pucca Line area. This area is adjacent to forested patches and is almost daily visited by elephants, especially during the monsoon season. The session started with discussions on safety measures that the people residing there should follow and precautions they should maintain regularly to reduce the chances of encounters with the animal. The people explained the problems they face for elephants in their daily life. The latter half of the session was about the safety norms and practices that the workers should follow for reducing the chances of leopard encounters while they are in the tea estate.

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WTI Right Of Passage Workshop: Murti, 14th August 2019

Wildlife Trust of India, in association with SPOAR organized a day-long stakeholder workshop with the Tea-Estate Associations, District Administration, Forest Department and Police Department. Aritra Kshettry, from the Co-existence project held a 1-hour session on stakeholder engagement and role of various stakeholder in addressing the root causes of conflicts with people and elephant conservation in the region. The deliberations centred around the eradication of alcoholism, adequate lighting in tea-estate settlements, formation of Quick Response Teams at the level of each tea estate and formation of corpus funds to offset losses faced by people due to elephants.  

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Workshop In Lakhipara Tea Estate: 28th July 2019
 

On Sunday morning, an awareness program was conducted by the Coexistence project team in the Bara Line area of the tea garden. The area falls between forest patches of Diana and Rethi, and elephants often visit the tea garden including the labour colonies, more frequently during the monsoon season. We discussed the precautionary measures that the villagers should take regularly to minimize the chances of casualties and the concept of forming a First Response Team for dealing with wildlife emergencies was also floated. The latter half of the session was about the safety measures that the tea-workers should practise before entering the field for reducing the chances of leopard attacks.

 

Workshop in Hilla Tea Estate: 11 th August 2019

An awareness program was organised in the ICDS school premises of the Niche Line area. This human habitation is just opposite to the Chapramari forest patch so, regular elephant movements are quite common here. Often wild animals get stranded inside the tea estate and labour lines even, during the daytime. Our team members had sessions with the villagers in which we discussed different precautionary measures that should be adopted by the locals to reduce the chances of human-elephant conflict. The villagers were explained how to form a First Response Team with local members for dealing with wildlife emergencies until the Forest Department reach the spot. We also taught various practices to be followed especially, by the tea estate labours while working in the tea garden to minimize the risk of leopard attacks.

 

Workshop in Mugalkata Tea Estate: 21 st August 2019

The Coexistence Team with the help of the Panchayat member conducted an awareness program on the football ground of line number 4. Elephants visit this area almost every day, as this Tea Estate is environed by a couple of forest patches and,
cattle lifting by a leopard are also quite common here. We discussed several precautionary techniques and measures that would help to decrease the possibilities of human-wildlife conflicts. The concept of forming a First Response Team and, how it will operate during wildlife emergencies in the labour line, was introduced to the villagers. The locals requested for building watchtowers on certain points that are used by elephants for entering the labour lines.

 

Workshop in Putharjhora Tea Estate: 25 th August 2019

The Coexistence Project team, with the help of the Panchayat member, organised an
awareness camp in the Mangal Line. This tea estate is an organic farm and, the locals residing here are well conscious of the importance of ecological diversity. We tried to understand how these people deal with wildlife emergencies when the animals especially, elephants invade the labour lines, through interactive sessions. Cattle lifting by leopards are also a common phenomenon here. Our team members discussed various methods and, precautionary measures to be followed on an everyday basis to avoid leopard and elephant encounters.

 

Workshop in Red bank Tea Estate: on 15th September 2019

The Awareness camp was organised at the EDC school of Bheeka Line, where the Co-
existence Team explained the Human-wildlife conflict mitigation measures including certain precautionary measures and also emphasized on the need to follow the safety protocols regularly to control the rate of damages and human casualties. Elephants visit the labour line almost regularly and on numerous occasions, they cause losses to the houses. The tea garden is closed and the overgrown tea bushes create a suitable territory for the elephants to dwell in the tea estate even, during day time. We also discussed methods to deal with leopard encounters and how to avoid confrontations with this animal. The concept of creating the First Response Team with eligible adults of the village was raised. This team of trained personals would first reach the location during any wildlife emergencies until the Forest Department reach the spot.

Workshop in Dharanipur Tea Estate: on 22th September 2019

The Awareness program was conducted in the Kalikhola Pipeline labour colony with the help of Panchayat member and at present, the garden is run by the co-operative committee. This area is dominated by regular elephant visits from the adjoining Diana forest patch. There are no arrangements of street lights in the labour lines which make it very difficult for the locals to confirm the animal presence after sunset. The Coexistence Project team conducted sessions on how to deal with elephants when they invade the labour colonies and also certain measures were explained which could benefit them to reduce the human-elephant conflicts. Labours who work in the tea garden were specially taught various exercises that should be conducted regularly before entering the bushes for depreciating the human-leopard confrontations. The team also proposed the villagers for creating a First Response Team with trained local members which could deal in case of any wildlife crises in their settlement till the forest department reaches the spot.

Formation of Voluntary Quick Response Teams: 6th and 7th January 2020

Village level voluntary quick response teams were set up during this event. The idea of Quick Response teams was formulated by the Co-existence Project during our long term work in the landscape. Wildlife Trust of India in collaboration with SPOAR, a local NGO helped implement the idea in partnership with the Co-existence project. 19 Such teams have been created in tea-estates and villages where elephant movement is frequent. These teams have been equipped by WTI and two (out of 19) teams have been funded by the Co-existence project. The QRT members were trained and initiated during this event which was held in partnership with the West Bengal Forest Department. The main role of the QRTs includes crowd control during elephant entry inside villages/crop fields. Guiding elephants safely away from human habitations, informing Forest Department Teams and assisting them in dealing with all kinds of wildlife emergencies.

Collaring of Adult Male Leopard: January 2020

We are excited to announce that the Co-existence project will now help track a collared male leopard as he navigates through forests, tea plantations, rivers, agriculture fields and of course, people!

He has been collared as part of a State Forest Department project in collaboration with the Central Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change and GIZ. Follow our website to keep track of L1's latest antics. 

Project Flash The Lights 2021: January 2021

We spent the greater part of 2020 building partnerships and collaborations as field work could not go on due to the pandemic crisis. As soon as things looked slightly better, we started off 2021 with a flash! 

Yes, we have collaborated with Voice for Asian Elephants Society and Naturemates India to procure 2000 flashlights. These flashlights will be distributed to families who share space with people so that people can be wary of elephant presence at night near their homes. Our past studies have found that most human casualties due to elephants occur at night when people are unaware of elephant presence near their homes. Hence we will be sharing safety practices with workers of tea-estates so that no more lives are lost to accidents. This will also help build local support for conserving elephants in the landscape.